When does a mene begin and end?

[Revised: 2020-10-18]
In petanque, there are actually two different models of when menes (“ends”, “rounds”) begin and end. The models are used for different purposes.

In the FIPJP Rules model there are two kinds of events. One kind marks the start of a mene, and the other kind marks the end of a mene. For many years the FIPJP rule was that a mene started with the successful throw of the jack. The rules changed in 2016 and now a mene starts with the throw of the jack, regardless of the validity of the throw. A mene ends with the agreement of points. Between the agreement of points that marks the end of one mene, and the throw of the jack that marks the start of the next mene, there is a period of time that lies between menes.

In the Time-Limited Games model there is a single event that marks the end of one mene and the start of the next. For many years the Eurocup rules used the agreement of points as the dividing event. That changed a few years ago and the Eurocup rule for time-limited games is now: “A new end is considered to have started as soon as the last boule from the previous end has been played.” The last boule of the mene is considered to have been played when it finishes rolling and comes to a complete stop. The Petanque New Zealand umpire’s guide gives a clear explanation of the rule.

When the time signal is sounded,… if all boules of the end have been played and have come to a stop… that end has finished, (regardless of measuring and deciding points)… [and] you have officially started the new end… This rule applies only in timed games to determine how many ends remain to be played after the time signal is sounded. It is not used for any other purpose.

Under the FIPJP rules, the events that mark the beginning and end of a mene are used for a variety of purposes.

(1) The One-Minute Rule
Article 21 says, basically, that a mene ends, and the one-minute timer starts ticking, at the moment that the teams know which team should play next.

Once the jack is thrown, each player has the maximum duration of one minute to play his boule. This short period of time starts from the moment that the previously played boule or jack stops or, if it is necessary to measure a point, from the moment the latter [the measurement] has been accomplished. … The same requirements apply to the throwing of the jack.

The FIPJP umpires were being lazy and sloppy when they wrote this rule. You can’t lay out rules for what happens between the throws of boules, and then just tack on: “Oh, and the same goes for the jack.” There is a significant difference between what needs to happen between throws of boules and what needs to happen between menes. Between throws of boules, the only thing that players need to do is to agree which team plays next. Between menes, however, they must agree on the points, which may take some time. The rule for throwing the jack should say that the one-minute timer starts ticking at the end of the previous mene, i.e. at the time that the points have been agreed.

(2) A late-arriving player
Article 33 says that when a player arrives late to the competition, he/she must wait until a time between menes to join the game.

(3) Prematurely picked-up boules
Article 27 says, in effect, that a mene ends with the agreement of points.
“It is forbidden for players to pick up played boules before the end of the mene. At the end of a mene, any boule picked up before the agreement of points is dead.”

(4) Waiting for the end of the mene in another game
Article 13 says, “If, during a mene, the jack is displaced onto another game terrain… the players using this jack will wait for the end of the mene that was started by the players on the other game terrain, before finishing their own mene.”


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